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Full text of "Groundcover News Vol. 2 no. 4 May 2011"

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Mother's Day: remembering 
what's important - p. 2 

A perfect Ten 

Creativity needed to find 
homes for the unhoused 

Debunking the stigma of 
mental illness - p. 5 

From conservation to 
Decadomes - p. 6 

Mark's Carts bring hip 
cuisine to the streets 

And that man is... can 
you guess? 


Book Reviews 

Get a fresh news perspective 
at different websites - p. 11 

Cinco de Why-O? 

p. 12 


Making time for mom, and for others 

by Susan Beckett 

When I was very young, 
I gifted my mom with 
homemade potholders that I loved 
making and she seemed to love 
getting. Soon, Mother s Day became an 
occasion where I struggled to find an 
appropriate gift and get it to my mother 
on the right day. 

As a young mother, I sometimes 
resented having "my" day usurped 
by family gatherings centered around 

an older generation that was not 
actively engaged in the daily demands 
of mothering. And then, too late, I 
learned that there were precious 
few years between the time my kids 
were independent and when their 
grandmothers were gone. 

Caught up in the demands of everyday 
life, visiting had taken on the specter 
of another thing to fit in; less time Id 
have for myself. What did I do instead 
that would have been left undone? It's 
telling that I can t recall anything of 

I wonder how it would have been 
if I had lived nearby instead of 500 
miles away. Would I have made time 
for regular dinners with my parents? 
Would they have been more of a part of 
my everyday life? 

As the nature of our relationship shifted 
to my mother relying on me more 
than I relied her, my extended visits 
increased in frequency and I marveled 
at how much I enjoyed spending time 
with her, just going through the daily 
chores of life together. Chatting while 
making dinner, discussing a book or 

lecture, teaching her how to solve a 
Sudoku puzzle as she had taught me 
crossword puzzles so long ago - these 
moments seem so precious now. 

Conflicted between maintaining 
relationships and accomplishing the 
tasks at hand, the immediateness of the 
tasks pull me in that direction. 

And as I push off visits with close 
friends and family until a more 
convenient time, I wonder if I'll repeat 
this pattern forever or accept this latest 
gift from my mother. 

Even when your mind goes, you still have your memories 

by Laurie Lounsbury 

A few years before my 
mother s death, we 
kids packed her entire 
life into two drawers 
of an old bedroom dresser. 

Two drawers. 



Groundcover News exists 
to create opportunity and a 
voice for low-income people 
while taking action to end 
homelessness and poverty. 

Susan Beckett, Publisher 

Laurie Lounsbury, Editor 


David KE Dodge 
Karen L. Totten 

Andrew Nixon 

Marquise Will 
Carolyn Lusch 

Letters to the Editor: 

Story or Photo Submissions: 

423 S. 4th Ave, Ann Arbor 


Eighty-six years of living, 42 years 
of a happy marriage, three children, 
seven grandchildren, countless friends, 
relatives weddings, parties, family 
vacations - in the end, it was all neatly 
tucked into two dresser drawers. 

My mother had been living 
independently in a retirement complex, 
but a fall and ensuing broken hip 
necessitated her move to a nursing 

We three siblings converged in 
Chicago to handle the dreaded task of 
divvying up her lifelong possessions. 
We took turns picking items from my 
mother's collection of furniture and 

Our picks were very revealing about 
our memories. 

My brother wanted to waste one of 
his picks on an unattractive black 
trash can, upon which my mother had 
decoupaged an American Eagle when 
decoupaging was all the rage. 

"Just take it Ben, you don't have to 
waste a pick on a trash can," we told 
him. But he insisted, saying that the 
can brought back memories of us all 
together in our family room, tossing 
pieces of construction paper Christmas 
tree garlands into the can when one of 
us made a mistake. 

I became equally nostalgic and wasted 
a turn on a spectacularly ugly mint 
green vinyl chair that sat in the corner 
of my mothers bedroom. My sister had 
already put it in the pile to go into the 
Dumpster. With a certain amount of 
embarrassment, I explained to my older 
siblings that I used to sit in that chair 
and listen to my mother's stories of her 
youth while she sewed hems in dresses 
handed down from my sister to me. 

When all the picking and choosing was 

done, we shipped our new belongings 
to our homes. Then I called Mom to 
tell her that her possessions had found 
good homes. 

"I took the mint green vinyl chair, 
Mom, and I put it in my bedroom," I 
told her. I thought this would give her 
great pleasure. 

"You're mistaken," she said. "I never 
owned a mint green vinyl chair." 

Bear in mind, conversations with my 
mother had become twisty trips down 
Memory-Challenged Lane. 

"Yeah you did Mom, I used to sit in that 
chair and you'd tell me stories of when 
you were little." 

"I remember telling you stories, but no, 
I don't remember any green vinyl chair. 
Why on earth would I own a mint 
green vinyl chair?" 

That's a question I often asked myself. 

"Martha took your double brass bed 
for Heidi, since she's going to be 
married soon. It will be your first 
granddaughter's first wedding bed." 

"Oh, I'm so happy for Heidi, I think her 
young man is wonderful," Mom said. 

"Ben chose that little hand-painted 
picture of Dad with his mom when he 
was a baby." 

"Oh, your dad was so precious in that 

"And I took the picture of you that you 
had professionally done for your 50th 
birthday It's a really good picture of 

"Ahh yes, I remember that picture," 
she said. "You were just a little girl 
when that was taken. You were aging 

me fast, so I decided I'd better get a 
good picture taken while I still had the 

Moms very favorite photo albums 
rested safely in the two top dresser 
drawers in her nursing home room, 
along with bits of jewelry our dad gave 
her over the years. 

We put her gorgeous, black and white 
wedding photo on the wall of her new 
room. She looked at it every day, and 
we assumed she was remembering a 
very happy day when she started her 
married life with Dad. 

One of my sister's friends who visited 
mom saw that wedding photo and 
remarked how beautiful the bride was. 

"Yes, my daughter Martha was a 
beautiful bride, wasn't she? Weren't you 
one of her bridesmaids, dear?" 

Oh well. A bride is a bride. And we 
Lounsbury women do look alike. 

A nurse came in and looked at the 
picture of my daughter Lexi hanging 
next to the wedding picture. 

"What a darling child," she told Mom. 

"Yes, but what a rascal that Laurie is! 
Just look at the twinkle in her eye. She's 
going to be a handful when she grows 

Right premonition, wrong kid. 

It became obvious that it is the 
memories gathered, not the objects 
owned, that ultimately give people the 
greatest pleasure in life. And even if 
the memories get tangled up, as long as 
they're good ones, does it matter? 

Happy Mother s Day, Mom, and 
thanks for the many happy memories. 
Especially the ones I can remember. 


Wisdom and Wonder in a Web 

Rev. Dr. Martha Brunell 

Pastor, Bethlehem United Church 

of Christ 

Several Septembers ago I was out and 
about in Ludington, Michigan early 
one Sunday morning. It was sunrise. 
I was trying to get a good picture of a 
great blue heron. They are difficult to 
track without a long lens. Herons are 
shy, alert, and quick to rise on their 
mighty wings. Sure enough I found 
the heron but again wasn't fast enough 
to frame out my photo. Instead, as I 
crossed an old bridge over the Lincoln 
River, I saw a magical spider web. I 
could easily have missed the web. It 
was small in scale compared to a great 
blue heron. However, morning dew 

— ■ — 


by Pastor Robert Hoepner 
Redeemer Lutheran Church 

The Third of Jesus 5 Seven Words 
from the Cross: 

"Dear woman, here is your son; here 
is your mother" (John 19:26-27) 

What great compassion Jesus showed! 
There, in the midst of pain and 
anguish, enduring the mockery and 
shame, Jesus did not think of Himself, 
but instead He thought about His 
mother. He understood the pain she 
was suffering watching Him endure 
the pain and the injustice, for He 
not only her son, but He was also the 
Son of God and her Savior too. Jesus 
knew what was piercing her heart. 
Therefore in full compliance with 
the Law, He repaid His mother; He 
honored His parent. He provided for 
her even from the cross. 

No matter who we are, we are the 
child of a father and a mother. God 
could have multiplied people like 
bacteria, I suppose, or have them 
grow like mushrooms. But He didn't. 
Instead, He gave us fathers and 
mothers, requiring us to honor, serve, 
and obey them, and give them love 
and respect. 

If Jesus, being fully God, honored i 
human mother, then we, too, shoulc 
have compassion for our parents and 
walk in Jesus' footsteps. 

studio. She frequently photographs 
the webs in the fields behind her old 
house. These too are web photos full 
of water and light. When her photos 
are enlarged significantly, one can 
see that the droplets of water in those 
webs act like any puddle or pond. They 
reflect what is around them. Susan, the 
photographer, says she is still surprised 
to see herself emerge in the reflection 
when the web droplets are magnified 

The earth is awakening again, and 
temperatures are finally warming in 
Michigan. Many of us are already 
outside more than we have been in 
months. Tapping the wisdom and 
wonder of two webs I have pondered, 

lined the filaments of this web, and 
the ascending sun made them sparkle. 
The simple science of the web took my 
breath away. Later, when I studied my 
pictures, I realized that portions of the 
web resembled the thinnest rainbows 
I had ever glimpsed, shimmering with 
the colors of light captured in the water. 
I keep a copy of that web photo close by 
at home, still marveling at how it is shot 
through with rainbows. It reminds me 
to slow down, open up all my senses, 
and be prepared for what any day may 

A few weeks ago I was studying 
another lovely web. This time it wasn't 
in a photo of mine. I was talking with 
a photographer in her New Buffalo 

A Perfect Ten 

by Rissa Haynes 
Groundcover Vendor 

The number 10 has taken on some significant meanings. In 
various competitions, the number 10 is the perfect score; in 
the Bible it is the number for completion; for me it has been 
astonishingly a sign of great compassion, love and gracious 

My past sales motivators have suggested we never give up 
until after the 10th "No Thank You" This has proven to be 
a very helpful tip for "sticking and staying" while working 
"my corner" in front of the Food Coop in Kerry Town. 
Surprisingly, though, I've never had to count all the way up 
to 10 before some compassionate patron would come 
to buy a Groundcover newspaper. Some people even 
buy several copies of the same issue, just to help my 

I suggest that we all slow down, open 
up our senses, and be prepared for 
what any day may deliver. Where do 
we see ourselves reflected in the wide 
lens of the world around us? In what 
ordinary corners are we startled by the 
modest connections that bind us to 
our natural surroundings? What tiny 
piece of beauty are we aware of today, 
perhaps a piece that we have walked 
by before? How do we feel and how do 
our physical beings react when we start 
to appreciate what is really out there, 
hidden in plain sight. 

In the immediate wake of Earth 
Day 201 1, (April 22) this is an 
uncomplicated daily habit that's easy to 
begin. Try it out soon. 

5:2ff), not being able to get into the pool fast enough for 
the healing, because others quicker than himself would 
get in before him. My mobility challenge had me in a 
similar position where the other vendors were greeting the 
members of the church before they got to my area. As I 
stood there having a bit of a "pity party," a sweet, young girl 
(probably a 4th or 5th-grader) came to me and gave me 10 

"We already have the paper." she said. "This is for you." Such 
gracious generosity made my heart and eyes swell with 
warm waters that healed my pity party and turned it into an 
attitude of gratitude. 

On one occasion, I was working a concert at the 
"churple" — an Episcopal Church & Jewish Temple 
- and several circumstantial obstacles had prevented 
my timely arrival. Cold, tattered and worn, I set up 
my vending area late. After the 9th no thank you 
passed by, another sweet, young lady approached me 
with outstretched arms and a $10 bill in her palm. 
As I looked up into her eyes to ask how many papers 
she wanted to buy, I recognized her as a former 
Groundcover vendor. She was attending the concert 
before moving out of town. "This is for you," she said 
warmly with a smile. We hugged before she went into 

On the first Saturday and Sunday of each month, a 
group of us vendors sell papers at St. Francis Catholic 
Church. The parishioners there have consistently 
been very gracious and generous in their support of 
our Groundcover venture. Not only are we greeted by 
assigned volunteers who truly make me feel welcome, 
but also the members of the congregation donate 
generously to our business. 

I recall one Sunday feeling like the cripple who laid 
by the Pool of Bethesda (see story in Bible St. John 

Bethlehem United Church of Christ 
423 S. Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 

(between William and Packard) (734) 665-6149 


8:30 am ~ Choir Rehearsal 

8:30 am and 10:00 am ~ Worship 

9:00 am ~ Confirmation Class 

10:00 am - Church School 

10:00 am ~ Young Adult Forum 

11:30 am ~ Youth Fellowship 

Upcoming Events: 

May 1 - Cake Auction ~ 11:30 am 

May 6 & 7 ~ Fundraiser ~ Bandito's Mexican Restaurant 

May 14 ~ Saturday Worship ~ 5:15 pm 

May 20 ~ Organ Concert ~ 7:30 pm 

May 22 - All Church Potluck - 11:30 pm 

May 27 - Parking Lot Pretzel Sale - noon to 4:00 pm 

May 30 ~ Memorial Day ~ Building Closed 

an invitation to grow in spirit and serve with joy 


Alternatives to Being Unhoused: Creativity and Vision Needed 

by Karen Totten 
Groundcover Contributor 

Ann Arbor has an increasing number 
of homeless individuals, up from 4200 
in 2008 to 4600 in 2010 according to 
the Shelter Association of Washtenaw 
County, as cited in an A2Politico 
article posted March 17, 201 1 by Erika 
McNamara , Whitmore Lake resident 
and lawyer affiliated with MISSION 
(Michigan Itinerant Shelter System: 
Interdependent Out of Necessity). 

As we know, shelters are not the 
complete answer. Shelters provide 
temporary housing for limited numbers 
but there are not enough beds available 
in Washtenaw County to meet the 
demand of all the unhoused, and the 
rules that govern shelter use prohibit 
some parts of the homeless population 
from partaking of their services. 

So what can be done? Two creative 
solutions to unhoused people are 
presented below, to demonstrate that 
we need to start thinking in new [pick 
one] ways about how to find solutions 
to the needs of the homeless. 

Dignity Village, a government 
sanctioned tent city in Portland, 
Oregon - the only one in the United 
States, according to Free Speech Radio 
News - has been operating for 10 
years. Residents, about 60 or so, live in 
permanent small homes designed for 
individuals or couples (children are not 
allowed to live on site). The structures, 
originally tents, tee pees, light wooden 
shacks or other temporary shelters, are 
now fully enclosed; some feature straw 
bale construction with mud and straw 
surfacing and adobe-finished walls. The 
land is a donated city lot. 

The encampment is in an area seven 

miles from downtown 

Portland. The site was first 

met with much protest by 

Dignity Village residents, 

but has worked out for the 

community which boasts 

a community garden, 

and a retail shop selling 

tenant-made jewelry and 


activities such as tending the garden. 
There is a one-time-and-out policy - no 

This encampment functions similarly 
to Ann Arbor's Camp Take Notice 
in its rules and regulations, and its 
interdependent community-based 
organization. The difference is that 
Portland donated the land on which 
the camp rests and set up housing that 
by 2009 was compliant with city code 
for residences. These are functioning 
homes. In a city the size of Portland, or 
even Ann Arbor, 60 residences are not 
going to fill the need of the unhoused, 
but it is a start that does more than 
ignore the growing numbers without 
a place to live, and that acknowledges 
the dignity and worth of people who 
for varied reasons do not reside in 
currently available housing. 

In March 2011, a group of three 
legislators from Seattle came to tour the 
encampment, according to Street Roots, 
the Portland area street newspaper. 
Seattle is considering a similar 
arrangement for camp-based housing. 

The natural building movement 
might also hold some answers to 
issues of the unhoused. At the Pine 
Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, 
joblessness, poverty, addiction and 
poor health come together with 
inadequate housing to create a very 
difficult situation for Native American 
people living on the remains of their 
native land. 

According to House Alive!, 80 percent 
of the Lakota people are homeless 
and must rely on relatives during 
winter months when temperatures 
can drop to 30 below zero. The Lakota 
traditional way of life was disrupted 
by the arrival of the white settlers. 

Lakota traditionally lived in teepees, 
following the buffalo herds and living 
from the land. As they were massacred 
and cleared off their original hunting 
grounds, they were forced to migrate to 
South Dakota reservations. 

The situation worsened in the mid 20th 
century, as most people were by then 
living in tar paper shacks and mobile 
trailers. The government stepped in 
and started to build what they called 
"cluster houses," which are actually 
paper-thin and cheaply built. These 
ghettos fill quickly with more than 
one family per house— sometimes as 
many as 20 people at a time sharing a 
2-bedroom house. Poverty is rampant. 
While some people do own land on the 
prairie, they have no means to build 
and move there. Adequate housing is 
badly needed. 

House Alive! came to the reservation in 
2010 to build a 2-bedroom straw bale 
house with composting toilet and solar 
power. This nonprofit group, based in 
southern Oregon, presents workshops 
on natural building and consults on 
natural design. The group has worked 
primarily in western U.S. , but also 
has developed projects in Mexico, 
Guatemala, Panama, Jamaica and 
Spain. Pictures of the build can be seen 
at the House Alive! website listed at the 
bottom of this article. 

This summer, another building project 

will begin on Pine Ridge 

for a family of the Oglala 

Sioux tribe, organized by 

New Jura Natural Building 

in collaboration with a 

reservation-based group 

called Sustainable Homestead 

Design. During July and 

August, builders will put up 

a 30-by-30-foot pallet house, 

using shipping pallets, which are a 
huge waste material being widely used 
among the "green" building community. 

The house will be insulated with 
light straw clay and have earthen 
plaster on interior and exterior walls, 
according to the Natural Building 
Network website. The floor will also 
be an earthen plastered application. 
Other "green" features will include a 
rain water catchment roof and gutter 
system to use for household needs, and 
a graywater-to-garden system using 
shower and sink runoff. There will be 
a composting toilet. The goal is to be 
finished before the winter months set 
in, which in South Dakota could be in 

Two houses will not solve the needs 
of Native Americans in South Dakota. 
However, they are a start, especially as 
the projects involve local participation 
and skill-building workshops which 
bring work into the community and 
establish a skill set that can be drawn 
from in implementing new builds. 

Please check out each of these projects 
at the following sites: 

Dignity Village 

Dignity Village 

House Alive! 

New Jura Building newjurabuilding. 

info or 

Rules of the community 
are strict. No drugs or 
alcohol allowed. No theft, no 
violence. Everyone agrees 
to participate in community 






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400 West Washington St 



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Large Pizza Special' Small 3-fouse SalucC I 
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Challenging social attitudes about mental illness 

by Andrew Nixon 
Groundcover Contributor 

Jonathan was about ten when he began 
to display signs of mental illness. 

Of course, nobody in his life called it 
that at the time. Jonathans family was 
well acquainted with his symptoms - 
which included intense motor "tics," 
outbursts of anger, and depressive 
tendencies - but they barely suspected 
that these might be signs of a 
recognized medical condition. 

"They just thought I was a difficult 
child," Jonathan says. "And boy, did I 
ever catch flack for my misbehavior'." 

He recalls frequent quarrels with 
his parents and siblings - animated 
shouting matches spurred on by his 
feeling misunderstood, inevitably 
resulting in further feelings of rejection 
and alienation. "The more unheard 
and wrongly accused I felt, the angrier 
I got. I think I was largely acting out 
in order to draw attention to an unmet 
emotional need." That need? "I simply 
wanted a little compassion: I wanted my 
family to recognize, accept, and forgive 
me for my complicated-ness." 

These "complications" continued to 
plague Jonathan for years. Lacking 
a better explanation, he came to 
understand his difficulties as a failing 
on his part; a character flaw. "I felt weak 

- everyone around me seemed to be 
handling life more gracefully. And their 
message to me, as I perceived it anyway, 
was that I was solely at fault for my 

It wasn't until halfway through college 
that Jonathan started to get different 
answers. In college, he was diagnosed 
variously with ADHD, depression, 
and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 
His health care providers, however, 
offered no common explanation for 
these different problems. Finally, at age 
24, Jonathan was formally diagnosed 
with Tourette Syndrome, a condition 
believed to be at least partly genetic 
in origin, and commonly producing 
a whole range of mental health issues 

- including all of the ones Jonathan 
had exhibited. At last, he could make 
some sense of why he had struggled for 
so long. 

"Getting the diagnosis didn't 
automatically fix everything," Jonathan 

says - treatment options for Tourette 
Syndrome are still very limited - "but at 
least morally speaking, I could begin to 
stop blaming myself." 

Another ten years have passed since 
Jonathans ultimate diagnosis, and many 
symptoms persist. But to this day, the 
most challenging aspect of coping with 
his mental disorder has been the stigma 
and discrimination he's encountered. 

"People don't understand what I go 
through with this. Learning that I have 
something called 'Tourette Syndrome' 
doesn't necessarily help; it's usually just 
a label in their mind" - a label which 
can feed prejudice just as readily 

Getting the diagnosis 
didn't automatically 
fix everything, but at 
least morally speaking, 
I could begin to stop 
blaming myself." 

these challenges," he says. "But I won't 
pretend that it hasn't been terribly 
difficult living with a condition that 
I feel I have to hide from friends and 
coworkers. There's always the very 
real possibility of social rejection and 
workplace discrimination. In a way, the 
stigma is actually worse than the illness 

Mental illness in America is no fringe 
issue. The number of people it affects is 
staggering. This year, according to the 
Substance Abuse and Mental Health 
Services Administration (SAMHSA), 
an estimated 44 million Americans 
will experience diagnosable mental 
disorders, ranging from chronic 

depression and anxiety 
to bipolar disorder and 

as promote compassion. "I am very 
reluctant in most cases to tell people 
about my mental illness. I can see their 
attitudes toward me shift as soon as I 
speak the taboo term: I get sorted into 
the stay away from him - he's crazy' 
category, and their interactions with me 

The specter of stigma can make one feel 
paranoid and isolated, Jonathan adds. 
He confesses that more frequent than 
overt prejudicial treatment from others 
are his own fears of being perceived and 
treated differently due to his mental 
illness. This anxiety routinely leads him 
to avoid social situations, continually 
put off pursuing his vocational dream 
of becoming a teacher, and even steer 
clear of romantic involvement. 

"I have found ways to cope with 
mental illness and even rise above 

The problem of mental 
illness is as serious 
as it is widespread. 
According to SAMHSA, 
depression is the leading 
cause of disability in the 
U.S., affecting 19 million 
individuals annually. 
Also in a typical year, 
35,000 Americans will 
commit suicide - which 
often is connected with 
serious mental illness 
- while over a million 
more will attempt it. 
These numbers have 
enormous social and 
economic consequences 

as well as personal ones. 

Treatment of mental illness can be 
highly effective. With the proper 
medical attention and community 
support - including support from loved 
ones - individuals with a history of 
mental illness can often lead normal 
and successful lives. For Jonathan, the 
long journey toward wellness has led to 
deep personal growth and strengthened 
bonds with family and friends. 

"I feel extremely fortunate to have 
received the help that I did," he says. 
"I couldn't have come to where I am 
now without that care. In fact, I may 
not have survived to tell this story." 
Jonathans treatment regimen over 
the years has included counseling, 
medications, and a devoted meditation 
practice. Together, they have made a 
huge difference in his life. 

The problem is, not everyone has been 
as lucky as Jonathan. Two out of every 
three people in this country who have 
a diagnosable mental disorder do not 
even seek treatment. Why is that? 

A big part of the answer is - again - 
social attitudes about mental illness. At 
the end of the day, the typical individual 
experiencing mental health problems 
feels too ashamed about his or her 
condition to seek help, does not have 
the knowledge to recognize his or her 
condition, or doesn't believe that help 
exists. According SAMHSA, only one 
in four young adults between the ages 
of 18 and 24 believes that a person with 
mental illness can eventually recover. 
And only one in four Americans 
"agrees that people are generally caring 
and sympathetic toward individuals 
with mental illnesses." The cards are 
heavily stacked against seeking help. 

Inaccurate prejudices about the nature 
and appropriate handling of mental 
illness are so pervasive, and so deeply 
ingrained in Americas collective 
psyche, that no one is immune to 
their influence. We encounter harmful 
stereotypes and limiting representations 
of the mentally ill on television and the 
Internet, in our newspapers, and in our 
schools. Unless educated otherwise, we 
unconsciously pass on these stereotypes 
to everyone in our sphere of influence, 
through the language we use and 
the choices we make in our private 
and professional lives. These widely- 
circulating notions not only lead to 
damaged self- worth and social isolation 
for victims of mental illness. They 
can, and often do, result in very real 
discriminatory practices - the denial 
of jobs, housing, health insurance, and 
medical treatment to individuals who 
are viewed as a danger, menace, or 
liability because of their condition. 

Undoing these pervasive attitudes will 
take strong efforts on many fronts, says 
Bob Nassauer of the National Alliance 
on Mental Illness (NAMI) Washtenaw 
County. One key area is better early 
screening protocols for mental illness. 
Far too often, family physicians treat 
the symptoms of mental illness - pain 
and lethargy, for instance - but fail to 
address their root cause or suggest the 
patient meet with a specialist such as 
a psychiatrist and/or social worker. 
"When our society has addressed the 

see STIGMA, page 11 


A man of many interests creates 
quick and effective "Decadome" 

by Susan Beckett 

They say we are all connected by six 
degrees of separation or less, but those 
who have been in Ann Arbor for a 
while almost certainly know someone 
who knows Eric Lipson. Perhaps they 
encountered this long-time resident 
while he ran Recycle Ann Arbor s 
Re-use Center, or when he was the 
administrator for Temple Beth Emeth 
(TBE), or in his most recent incarnation 
as director of the Inter-Cooperative 
Council (ICC), the U-M student 
housing co-op. He might have been 
spotted on cable television, sporting his 
red reading glasses while volunteering 
as a planning commissioner, with 
Michigan Peaceworks protesting the 
invasion of Iraq, or speaking out against 
the construction of a conference center 
in Ann Arbor. You might remember 
him as the guy who erected a domed 
structure on Liberty Square the day 
after a man died there of exposure. 

A passion for justice, community 
service, deep and lasting relationships, 
and simple but elegant solutions are 
recurring themes in Eric Lipson's 
life. Eric arrived at the U-M Law 
School 1972, worked for the Southeast 
Michigan Transportation Authority 
(SEMTA, now known as SMART) 
during a hiatus, and graduated in 1977 
with a social justice outlook, taking 
many courses in environmental law 
taught by famed professor Joe Sax. 
Working at Bivouac, and as a teaching 
fellow at Alice Lloyd residence hall 
during the school year and at Camp 
Tamarack and other Fresh Air Society 
camps in the summers, Eric was able 
to pay the then-reasonable cost of law 
school and graduate debt-free. In 1980, 
he accepted a $15,000 dollar per year 
job with the University of Michigan 
Student Legal Services, where cases 
were accepted based on their merit, not 
on clients' ability to pay. 

Eric built passive-solar-heated timber- 
frame houses for Don Price and 
Associates while he studied for the Bar 
Exam, an endeavor he found deeply 
satisfying. He credits his summer camp 
jobs and work at his Dad's Woodward 

Coney Island restaurant with 
teaching him many of the people 
skills he relies on today, along with a 
litany of other skills he has employed] 
through the years. 

"I had some amazing mentors," 
Eric chirrups. "My parents and 
grandparents; also Margaret Peschel, 
my science teacher at Pasteur 
elementary school in Detroit, Mr. Allen 
Brown, who built Camp Tamarack from 
the ground up, and Gordy Levenson, an 
amazing naturalist and teacher." 

In the late 1970s, because of his 
construction experience and some 
experimentation Eric had done with 
building geodesic domes (invented by 
Buckminster Fuller), his friend Bill 
Middleton asked him to evaluate a 
construction system devised by Fred 
Golden. Eric was very impressed 
with Fred's system. It simplified 
building construction by using panels 
continuously connected along their 
edges by connectors, thereby reducing 
the number of parts and steps involved 
from thousands to mere dozens, and 
thus shortened construction time from 
days or weeks to hours. 

The three men worked together and 
developed the Decadome™, consisting 
of 10 walls and a roof, all built from 
identical panels and connectors 
that can be assembled with hand 
tools in an hour. Unlike geodesic 
domes, the walls are vertical, and can 
accommodate standard windows and 
doors. They tried to market it, but the 
unconventional shape made it a tough 

In conjunction with the Ann Arbor 
Homeless Action Committee, they 
erected a dome at Liberty Plaza on a 
winter's day where a homeless man 
had frozen to death earlier that very 
morning. They put up another dome at 
the "Little Park for a Little While" that 
was briefly a homeless encampment 
and is now the County Building Annex 
at Main and Ann Streets. The homeless 
protestors thought the dome was a 
significant improvement over tents. 
Much to Eric's dismay, the dome was 
taken over by the meanest and toughest 

of the park inhabitants. 

Eric was also 

instrumental in 

establishing a group that Le ft : Eric ii ps0 n; Above; One of his Decadomes in Liberty Piaxa; 

since 1971 has preserved Below: Decadome with winders and doors. To see how easily 

100 acres of Ontario *** e Decadome is constructed, search Youtube tor "decadome 

, , demonstration" or visit 

conservation land on 

the Bruce Peninsulas 
Niagara escarpment. In another 
twist on networking, the son 
of a group member, who 
was a conservator at Henry 
Ford Museum, suggested 
that Eric assemble a dome 
at the museum. That exhibit 
eventually led to a sale to 
Greenfield Village for storing 
the parts of an historic sugar 

Though Fred and Bill left the 
dome venture to develop other 
businesses, Eric continued to 
work on Decadomes, even as he worked 
full time in other capacities. Eventually 
this led to one of the highlights of his 
life: meeting and working with Nobel 
Peace Prize winner-to-be, Muhammad 
Yunus. Lipson saw tremendous 
potential for the units in disaster relief. 
Insulated, strong, aerodynamically 
sound, durable and lockable, they were 
vastly superior to tents, and might 
even prove to be superior permanent 
housing in Bangladesh, where natural 
disasters are frequent. 

Professor Yunus came to Ann Arbor 
in 1998, spreading his message of 
the power of microcredit. A friend 
of Eric's, who was sponsoring Yunus 
talk through RESULTS (a non-profit 
poverty alleviation organization), 
asked him to pick up Yunus from the 
airport, and on the way to the speaking 
engagement, Eric told him about the 
domes. Yunus encouraged Eric to 
show him one and was so impressed he 
asked for a shipment of a dozen domes 
for a trial in Bangladesh. Because the 
components of the Decadomes™ stack 
flat and are easy to ship, the entire 

shipment took only two pallets in a 
shipping container. Eric went to Dhaka 
to personally oversee the installation of 
the units. The domes proved durable, 
but the people of Bangladesh were 
used to square shelters and the cultural 
barriers hindered their adoption as 
permanent housing. 

Eric and his wife, Lorene, returned 
to Ann Arbor in 1990 and Eric took 
a half-time job as an administrator 
at TBE so that he could continue 
developing the domes and be a stay- 
at-home dad. Lorene, one of only a 
handful of full-time archeological 
illustrators in the entire U.S., worked 
at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. 
Their son, Joe, was born in 1993, and 
Eric stayed home with him, too, doing 
freelance legal work. Watching fearfully 
as cars sped past their home while 
children played a few feet away in the 
yard, Eric started advocating for traffic 
calming by installing speed control 
humps. After many petition drives and 
meetings, humps were installed on his 
street and many others since, allowing 

him peace of mind about his youngest 
see DECADOME, page 10 



Marks Carts bring hip, urban fare to streets of Ann Arbor 

Any day now, a downtown outdoor 
food cart garden in Ann Arbor will 
offer gourmet street food ranging 
from breakfast burritos to pulled pork 
sandwiches to vegan treats. 

With the warmer weather has come 
stepped-up construction on what is 
poised to become Ann Arbor s premier 
street food scene. Workers are currently 
installing utilities and pouring concrete 
in the West Washington lot that will 
house up to 10 food carts and a covered 
eating area. At the same time, work on 
a new commercial kitchen adjacent 
to the cart garden is in its final stages. 
Mark Hodesh, owner of Downtown 
Home and Garden and originator of the 
cart garden, is eager to see the project 
launch this spring. 

"I am really pleased with how 
construction is shaping up," said 
Hodesh. "At this pace, we will greet 
the spring by offering the community 
a wonderful new street food scene and 

attractive, affordable options for 

downtown dining." 

So far there are six food carts 

signed up for the cart garden. 

Hodesh is still accepting 

applications to fill the final four 

spots. Confirmed vendors at 

present include: San Street (Asian I 

street food); Debajo del Sol 

(Spanish paella and tapas); The 

Lunch Room (vegan entrees, side^j 

and baked goods); eat (locally 

sourced hearty sandwiches); 

Darcy's Cart (breakfast burritos 

and more); and Humble Hogs 

(hoagies, braise-in-a bun, and 

other savory and sweet offerings). 

Hodesh encourages other jfa s lg no t your father's food cart. A wide variety of unique , fresh, and locally sourced food will be 

potential food cart operators featured at Mark's Carts, opening this spring behind Downtown Home and Garden 

to contact him. He is especially 
seeking vendors of Indian food, 
Jamaican food, and wood-fired pizza. 

The idea for the food carts originated 
when Hodesh visited his daughter 
Jeanne in New York City last year. 

Impressed with the breadth of street 
food available there and the joyful, 
entrepreneurial spirit of the people 
running the carts, Hodesh decided 
to bring the concept home. Hodesh 
notes that Mark's Carts also has an 
interesting historical connection: it is 
located on West Washington between 
Ashley Street and First Street,.on the 

site of the former home of Herman 
Hertler. Herder was one of the founders 
of Hertler Bros., the business that 
Hodesh bought in 1975 which is now 
Downtown Home and Garden. 

A date for the cart garden opening will 
be announced soon, as construction 

And that man is... 

by Martin Stolzenberg 
Groundcover Contributor 

As adolescents in the nineteen fifties, we 
started out on the same Jewish Commu- 
nity Center basketball team. I was pretty 
good. He was excellent. Soon he was big 
and powerful. He could dunk, which was 
a rarity in those days for someone who 
was maybe 6'2" We worked our way up to 
the high school team. He was a star; I sat 
on the bench. One day there was no prac- 
tice and we wound up, just the two of us, 
at the gym of a local church. We spent the 
whole afternoon going one-on-one. Cool- 
ing off between games he said, "If I could 
shoot like you or you could jump like me, 
it would make one hell of a player." I guess 
it meant a lot to me, because I never forgot 
the words that he said to me that day. 

I think it was that same day that we com- 
pared the size of our hands. Understand: 
I have large hands, wearing extra-large 
gloves. When we lined up our hands I 
could see that his was the equivalent of 
about a joint larger than mine. The largest 
hand I had ever seen. 

He went off to the University of Cincin- 
nati on a basketball scholarship. I bumped 
into him during a Christmas break. He 

told me he was now playing baseball 
and the Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and 
the Dodgers were interested in him, as 
a pitcher. I condescendingly said, "Sure", 
and "Good luck." I even went around 
the neighborhood telling everyone, "He 
thinks he is going to get signed to a base- 
ball bonus contract by one of the major 
league teams. That means he has to go on 
the twenty-five man roster. What is he 

He became a big star for the Los Angeles 
Dodgers. My wife Gale and I were liv- 
ing in the Pittsburgh area. I mentioned 
at dinner with my boss, that I knew him 
from the neighborhood. His wife heard 
and became ecstatic. They had lived in Los 
Angeles. She loved the Dodgers, especially 
him. Could she meet him? I said I would 
try. I knew the visiting teams stayed at 
the downtown Hilton when they were in 
Pittsburgh. One night, when the Dodgers 
were in town, I called. Sure enough I was 
connected to his room. We reminisced 
a bit about what happened to whom. He 
asked if I was married. When he heard 
that I was indeed married he told me that 
he "would like to meet a nice Jewish girl." 
I don t think he did. 

see LEGENDARY, page 11 



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Fill in the squares so that each row, column, and] 
3-by-3 box contain the numbers 1 through 9. 

Solutions on page 9 





Now your donation will be tax deductible 

Some of you expressed a desire to donate financially to Groundcover. 
We are thrilled to announce that we have filed for tax-exempt status 
so contributions are tax deductible. The $400 filing fee wiped out our 
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Please visit our website,, or send checks 
made out to Groundcover News to our attention at Bethlehem UCC, 423 
S. Fourth Ave, Ann Arbor, Mi. 4£I04. 

1, Skewer 



quotes - 

- Who said tl 
















6. Boutiques 
1L Eagle 




14. Silly 

15. Uncanny 




16, Partially submerged river valley 

17. "The Interesting thing about being a 




mother is that everyone wants pets, but no 
one but me deans the Kitty litter." 



25 1 




19. Gymnast's requisite 

20. Pius , Pope trom 1939-1958 





21. Evil 

22. Han 








23. initials of a French President 
26. Terminated 





28. Conspiracy 
29, and now 

31. Blunder 

32. fire {prefix} 

33. Symbols 
35. Top floor 














56 1 


37. Mom's title (abbr.) 

40. "Few misfortunes can befall a boy which 


: !l 



brings worse consequences than to have a 
really affectionate mother," 






42. Pish 

44, Army rank (abbr.) 




45. Conscious 

47. Pathological condition 




48. Walk 
50. Demon 


52. Edinburgh native 

5. Prove false 

38. Gossip tidbit 

53. Fire byproduct 

6. Matching items 

39. Numerical data 

55. Polearm 

7, "A good mother is worth hundreds of 

41. Wonderment 

57. Lawrence Kris Parker 


43. Photo cards (abbr.) 

58. Book 

8. Mountain nymph 

46, "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of 

59. Brooks 

9. Dappled 


60, Hairpiece 

10. Month (abbr.} 

49. Presidential nickname 

62. Gardner 

11. "Who in their infinite wisdom decreed 

51. Chess piece 

63, "You know the passage where Scarlett 

that Little League uniforms be white? 

53, Put away 

voices her happiness that her mother is 

Certainly not a mother." 

54, Film 

dead, so that she can't see what a bad girt 

12. Cowboy's rope 

55, Number 

Scarlett has become i Well, that's me," 

13. Pertaining to birth 

56, Made angry 

68. Knight's title 

18. Trigonometric function 

59. Rogers 

69, Portents 

22. Disfigure 

61. Hackman 

70. Listlessness 

23. Ape 

63. Promise 

71. Curse 

24. Beverage 

64. Feminine suffix 

72. Atae 

25. "My mother loved children - she would 

65. Traveler's haven 

73, Collision damage 

have given anything if 1 had been one." 

66. Intestine 

27. Serious story 

67, Pronoun 


28, Oscillation 

1. Novak 

30. University department (abbr,) 

2. Netherlands village 

32. Zadora 

3, Slot machine symbol 

4, Gem 

34. Quiver 

36. Ideas in common 

Puzzle by Jeff Richmond 


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Book Reviews 


Centuries of Financial Folly 

by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. 


c. 2009 by Princeton University Press 

by David KE Dodge 
Groundcover Contributor 

tome dense with statistics, tables and 
graphs, many of which escaped this 
reviewer s comprehension. Almost 
every page also contains sentences 
that were beyond his comprehension, 
leading him to the realization that 
he sorely needed a refresher college- 
level statistics course to appreciate 
the text, and, probably, to develop a 
constructive understanding of the 
world of economic affairs. 

But his eyes pored over every 
sentence, and he finished the book 

glad that he had 
plowed through. 
He came away 
with three distinct 

The world is in 
its infancy, so far 
as national and 
financial and 
political institutions and economic, 
currency, and trade conventions are 
concerned. No one has developed a 
model of national and international 
flows of wealth, debt, and currency 
enabling world leaders to foresee, and 
make correction to forestall, financial 
crises such as that which germinated 
in the United States, quickly engulfed 
the world in 2008, and from which the 
world has yet to recover. 

The information necessary to 
develop and operate such a model is 

not available- 
not from 

or individual 
Without full 
disclosure and 
transparency on 
the part of all 
participants, a model will never be 
developed, much less effectively used, 
to avoid collapses of the economies of 
large portions of the world. 

The necessary transparency on the 
part of all participants in an economy, 
the collection of statistics therefrom, 
and the development and application 
of a model reliant on such statistics so 
as to modify policy and forestall crisis, 
requires a higher quality of citizenship 
and statesmanship than may ever be 

It is this reviewer's opinion that if 
the world does not develop such 
leadership, the people of the world 
can expect to reel from crisis to crisis. 
Pretty much, so long as the U.S. 
remains the dominant world economy 
and military power, the choice belongs 
to the people of the U.S. to make. 

The reviewer fears he may have 
discouraged the reader from 
undertaking THIS TIME IS 
DIFFERENT. The reader is 
encouraged to read the Preface, 
the Preamble, and chapter 17, the 
last chapter. She or he may then be 
motivated to try the denser material 
in the book, in order to better 
understand the complexity of the 
issues addressed. Even the authors 
suggest, in the preface, that the reader 
might find Part V, chapters 13-16, to 
be "relatively straightforward and self- 

Boggs with Scott Kurishage 

by Karen L.Totten 
Groundcover Contributor 

"What does it mean to be a human be- 
ing in the 21st century?" This question, 
posed by Grace Lee Boggs and repeated 
by Danny Glover in his introductory 
remarks to Boggs 5 book The Next Ameri- 
can Revolution, is the central focus of a 
powerful treatise on human relationships 
that Glover says "we must have and are 
destined to have for the survival of the hu- 
man race and the planet itself." 

Grace Lee Boggs, the distinguished 

96-year-old activist and longtime Detroit 
resident sees America as increasingly cor- 
rupted by crass materialism, and becom- 
ing increasingly racist. In addition, the 
profitability of militarism is muddying the 
dream of democracy for all; she recalls 
Martin Luther King, Jr's call for a "revolu- 
tion of values" against these giant triplets. 

Many of us think of revolution in bloody 
terms, as in the case of the French Revolu- 
tion, or the Bolshevik Revolution. But this 
is not the sort of thing Boggs has in mind. 
Gone is the notion of simply replacing 
one power group with another, leaving 
the people still at the mercy of those who 
rule to save us from what ails in society. 
Instead, Boggs embraces a community- 
based, self-directed brand of activism. In 

fact, she says, we are the leaders we are 
looking for. We have it within ourselves 
to begin making the kinds of choices and 
decisions which will bring about grass- 
roots change. 

What Boggs sets out here is not simply 
rebellion. She feels that those who care 
about transforming society need to stop 
thinking of themselves as victims, either of 
greed or corruption. Boggs feels margin- 
alization can be a liberating concept since 
it takes one to a place where maintaining 
the status quo is no longer an option, and 
therefore new forms of self-governing can 
evolve. Each of us, Boggs asserts, needs 
to undergo the kind of philosophical and 
spiritual transformation that will recog- 
nize our interconnectedness, nurture our 

compassion, and grow our souls at a time 
when the world desperately needs new 
visions of how to live. 

Boggs draws her ideas from her lifelong 
experience in activism, and her under- 
standing of the current political, economic 
and environmental landscape. She believes 
two of the ways we can accomplish this 
new dialogue and new approach to the 
politics of our time are through work that 
"fosters cooperation rather than compe- 
tition and which preserves rather than 
destroys skills" and through re-envisioned 
education. As Gandhi would say, educa- 
tion for head, heart and hands, education, 
the goal of which is building community 
rather than creating individuals driven to 

see LEADERS, page 10 

Puzzle Solutions 


"Every mother is like Moses. 
She does not enter the 
promised land. She prepares a 
world she will not see " 

-Pope Paul VI 

























































































































































































Decadome could provide quick shelter to people in disaster areas 

continued from page 6 

child, Rebecca. 

Erics efforts caught the eye of Mayor 
Hieftje, who subsequently appointed 
him to the Planning Commission, 
where he served for about four years. 
During this time, he challenged Marcia 
Higgins, the current 4th Ward council 
member, for the Democratic candidacy 
for City Council. He lost the primary by 
a mere 60 votes. 

In 1997, the director of Recycle Ann 
Arbor's Re-Use Center was promoted, 
and RAA snatched up Eric, a frequenter 
of the facility, as its new director. He 
recalls with gusto the invitations to 
dismantle old buildings. They rescued 
stained and beveled glass windows, 
antique doors and 1920s-era hardware 

from a former old-age home for nuns in 

"That job was like treasure hunting. 
One day we got all sorts of wedding 
presents still in their boxes. There was 
obviously a story there, but it probably 
wasn't a good one." 

At his 50th birthday party, attorney 
John Shea, a well-respected criminal 
defense attorney for whom Eric had 
done some earlier work, asked Eric to 
join his practice. The physical strain 
of working at the Re-use center was 
punishing. His wife urged him to accept 
the law job, and he did. 

Being a criminal defense lawyer, people 
often asked, "How can you represent 

'those people?" His response: "Many of 
'those people' are innocent. Even if they 
are guilty, you want to give them the 
best defense possible since the guilty 
people are usually convicted, and if they 
have had a proper defense, there is no 
room for a successful appeal. And for 
some reason, people assume that all 
our clients are guilty. In my experience, 
many of the clients who came to us 
were innocent, and those people could 
be you!" 

Despite the satisfaction of helping free 
the innocent (and plea-bargain for the 
guilty), Lipson yearned to work in a 
field that did not deal with pathological 
behavior. He took his current position 
as General Manager of the ICC - the 
student housing coop - in 2007, and 

calls it the most challenging job he 
has ever had, and one that employs all 
his myriad skills. The oldest student- 
owned and operated housing co-op 
in the U.S., the ICC has 20 buildings 
and more than 500 members. Eric 
settles disputes, oversees repairs, and 
maintains government compliance and 
full occupancy rates. 

And Eric hasn't given up on his 
dream of sending thousands of 
Decadomes™ to those who need 
housing after disasters such as in Haiti 
and Japan. "These buildings work 
like a charm. Someday I still believe 
we'll be able to employ Michiganders 
by manufacturing Decadomes™ and 
sending them all over the world to 
people who need them." 

Leaders must change their methods of leading 

continued from page 9 

increase their status and earning potential. 

Boggs argues for a paradigm shift in 
education so that not only is it a base from 
which one prepares for life in industrialized 
society, but it acts as a force which honors 
the "unique ability of human beings to 
shape and create reality in accordance with 
conscious purposes and plans." The factory 
model of education is obsolete, she says, 
and must be replaced with a program which 
honors children's creative powers and the 
new ways by which they learn. 

Boggs states, "Instead of rhetorical flourishes 
against 'socialism' [such as the Tea Party 
currently offer] we need active and working 
declarations of our commitment to creating 
local economies based on new principles 
and ethics of real work" Economic develop- 
ment does not come only from outside, as 
politicians declare. Instead, "what actually 
holds the fabric our society together are 

local activities not done for money" such 
as raising children, cooking, bartering with 
friends and neighbors for services or goods, 
co-operative enterprises based on common 
ownership and control" - in short, "a com- 
munity of self-reliance with an economy 
rooted in human solidarity rather than 
amoral competition," Boggs writes. 

Boggs' call for grassroots change means that 
we must become midwives for the birth- 
ing of a new America, as movement elder 
Vincent Harding has stated. We must look 
to new models for leadership, shifting away 
from the vertical, charisma dominated 
patterns of the past and looking to more 
participatory and horizontal kinds of leader- 
ship as we might witness within a family. 
"We are not subversives," Boggs states, but 
people who are making the leap forward 
in the "precious human qualities of social 
responsibility and creativity now necessary 
and possible in the evolution of the human 
species. We are struggling to change the 
country because we love it." 

Make a tax-deductible donation to Ground- 
cover News securely online at our 
website- www- groundcovernews • com 
Your donation helps us fulfill our 
mission to help homeless people make the 
t r a n sit i on fro m home less to housed. 



Join Councitwoman Sabra Briere, other government officials, sitting & retired 
judges, cooking experts, & tons of Dems as they battle and help judge Ann 
Arbor's best chili & combread recipes. Enjoy 10-15 different chili selections, 
5 varieties of combread, delicious salad, thirst quenching punch, voting 
privileges, great music, a fun family-friendly crowd, & optional cash bar. 

Tickets: (10 at the door, $8 in advance, $7 for students & senior citizens, 
kids under age 10 eat free. 

2-6 p.m. Sunday, May 1 

at James L. Crawford 
Elks Lodge, #322 

220 Sunset Rd. 
Ann Arbor 

More information: 


Surf for news with a fresh perspective 

by Karen L. Totten 
Groundcover Contributor 

Looking for news on the Internet? 
Something more than what the big 
three networks or cable news can offer? 
Here are a few sites I enjoy looking at, 
because I can get information that other 
traditional news sources do not explore 
or cover only in brief. Hit the "English" 
button. Honest, straightforward. Their 
interviewers ask tough questions. 
Some of the more interesting programs 
include Empire, Riz Khan and Inside 
Story. These news programs are also 
available on after a lag of a 
day or so. On the Aljazeera channel you 
can watch the news of the day. They boast 
the great Amy Goodman, a journalist 
who tirelessly questions, even when, 
as it did this year, it led to her being 
prevented from entering Canada to 

follow a story. Goodman hosts a radio 
show and her guests range the gamut. 
On the down side, the site does not 
update over weekends. Yes, I 
know he's opinionated. But his site 
tracks the list of dead and wounded in 
Iraq and Afghanistan, features links 
to places where one can get involved 
in constructive political and social 
movements and community service, 
and Michaels blogs make for great 
conversation starters. Pulitzer prize- 
winning journalists cover topics other 
media sources have forgotten or simply 
ignore. They put together a spectacular 
series on Katrina and its aftermath, as 
well as one on the state of dialysis in 
the United States. As this was written, 
their site listed articles on the denial 
of Purple Hearts to brain damaged 
veterans, the Mideast situation, and the 
Bailout, among other things. Mosdy for the columns 
of Glen Greenwald, a former 
constitutional lawyer now author who 
can dissect a subject and offer proof for 
his argument like nobody else. 

Other sites that tantalize the mind and 
stimulate thought: Especially Bill Moyers 
Journal. Though Moyers is no longer 
doing his wonderful show, you can still 
see old episodes. One not to be missed 
is an interview with historian Simon 
Schama, in January of 2009. Schama, 
who has written about everything 
historical from the French Revolution 
to the passage of slaves into the U.S. 
and the slave trades subsequent 
influence on American politics, is an 
animated and articulate guest, keeping 
the cameramen on their toes, as he 
engagingly expresses his erudite views. A tremendous site, 

featuring lectures from thinkers, 
visionaries, scientists, authors, etc. 
One lecture I really appreciate is by 
J.K. Rowling, as the speaker at Harvard 
graduation. She speaks not only of her 
transformation from impoverished 
single mother to award-winning author, 
but also of her choices along the way 
and how she studied what she loved 
instead of studying what would bring 
a top salary. Her description of her 
work with Amnesty International is 
compelling. There are 
many great sites for lovers of poetry, but 
what I like about this particular one is 
the accessibility of the poems (selected 
primarily for a teenage audience — one 
for each school day) and the simplicity 
of presentation. Essentially a big, long 
list of well-known and lesser-known 
poets. Some poems do change from 
time to time. My favorites: Hand 
Shadows, by Mary Cornish and #56. 

Legendary ball player has connections with Groundcover writer 

continued from page 7 

I also told him we were going to be at 
the game the next night. He suggested 
that before the game started, I lean over 
the side of the dugout and tell the bat 
boy that I was a friend and wanted to 
speak to him. He would come in from 
the bullpen. We got caught in traffic 
coming to the ballpark; the game was 
already underway and we missed seeing 

After that, word came back that a 
number of fellows from the old neigh- 
borhood had gone to school in Cali- 
fornia and continued to live in the Los 
Angeles area. Every Sunday morning 
they met for a pickup basketball game 
in one of the neighborhood parks. At 
the height of his career he started show- 

ing up, but it caused a problem. Why? 
Because once the neighborhood kids 
realized who was there, they started 
milling around for his autograph. It 
disrupted the basketball game. After a 
while the boys tossed the biggest star 
in baseball from the game and told him 
not to come back. Celebrity status does 
not get you too far with the Brooklyn 

It was about this time that my young 
nephew, Brian, became enthralled 
when I exaggerated a little bit about my 
childhood friendship with the baseball 
star. One day, Brian came up with the 
bright idea that I should write to him to 
get him to send an autographed picture. 
I started back- tracking, but it was too 
late. Eventually, we wrote to the Los 
Angeles Dodgers, Chavez Ravine, Los 

Angeles, California. 

Relentlessly, for the next several 
months, Brian grilled me about when 
the picture was coming. I would make 
excuses. My stock was plummeting. 

Then, one weekday afternoon, when I 
was at work, Gale called. "You wont be- 
lieve it, but he sent us an autographed 
picture addressed specifically to Brian 
along with a baseball signed by the 
whole Dodger team!" 

That was huge because the Dodgers had 
won the World Series that year. I imme- 
diately took the rest of the afternoon off 
to go see the baseball. My stock soared. 
My nephew treasured that baseball for 
many years. Every once in a while we 
take it out of its drawer and identify the 

Stigma is sad fact of misunderstanding mental illness 

continued from page 5 

issue of stigma and discrimination," 
Nassauer says, "then having a high 
quality mental health screen would 
become accepted standard procedure - 
especially for young people." 

Another key need is better treatments. 
Nassauer believes "the current mental 
health system may be too short-term 
focused and reliant on medications." A 
growing body of literature is calling into 
question the long-term effectiveness of 
many psychiatric drugs, including anti- 
depressants and anti-psychotics. This 

research has even raised the "disturbing 
possibility that some of these meds 
can, for some, worsen their condition." 
Integrative approaches to mental 
illness that include non-medication 
components, such as talk therapy, 
outdoor exercise, nutrition, brain 
exercises, and mindfulness techniques, 
might prove more effective in the long 
run. In the end, however, effective 
treatment may still largely come 
down to the attitudes of a community. 
"Perhaps a big part of the solution," 
says Nassauer, "is simply to give people 
adequate time in a safe, respectful, 

beautiful and compassionate place so 
they can heal." 

Maybe most importantly, mental health 
issues in our society desperately need 
more positive attention - from the 
educational establishments as well as 
from the media. 

In Jonathans words, "In my experience, 
awareness is the best antidote to stigma 
and discrimination. The better society 
understands mental illness, the more 
likely people like me will get the care 
and the community support they need 

faded names of players. 

Many years later, I showed my son 
Sandy Koufax's plaque in the Baseball 
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I told 
him how we had played basketball 
together in Brooklyn. So much for my 
prognostication abilities. 

I guess the only one more foolish than 
me was the Lafayette High School base- 
ball coach, George Sheehan. He had 
Koufax play first base, a .200 hitter, and 
used Fred Wilpon, now owner of the 
New York Mets, as his primary pitcher. 
That was some talent assessment! It is 
said that Sandy Koufax could throw a 
great curve ball because his very large 
fingers enabled him to hold the ball in 
his hand for a long time. I will testify to 

to achieve their dreams." 

Until that glorious day arrives 
when mental illness is no longer 
misunderstood, individuals 
experiencing symptoms of serious 
mental disorders are still advised 
to seek professional help, by 
takingadvantage of existing mental 
health services in their community. 

"While it may be wise and prudent 
to keep your illness private, it is still 
important to get treatment," says 


Water Hill Music Fest displays talents of friends and neighbors 

by Laurie Lounsbury 

For Paul Tinkerhess, an avid musician 
who enjoys walking around his 
neighborhood, it was an idea he had 
fostered for years and whose time had 

"As a musician I've come to know 
other musicians who live in the 
neighborhood and as a walker I've 
spent many pleasant hours walking 
Water Hill up, down, and sideways," 
said Tinkerhess, organizer of the Water 
Hill Music Fest. Knowing that life is 
short and good ideas sometimes drift 
away on the stream of daily living, 
Tinkerhess decided that May Day of 
this year was the perfect day to host a 
music festival. 

This music festival is 
particularly unique 
because the venue is an 
entire neighborhood, 
and the musicians will be 
performing on their own 
front porches or yards. 
Neighbors and visitors 
can stroll through the 
'hood and see the likes of 
Ann Arbor music legends 
George Bedard, Brian 
Delaney, and Dick Siegel 
playing up the walk from 
jazz icons like Vincent 
York, who played with 
Duke Ellington, and 
Ron Brooks, who has 
recorded with Quincy 

You may round a corner 

after hearing John 

Madison, principal violist 

for the Michigan Opera 

Theater Orchestra, and 

stumble upon a rising young star like 

seven-year-old Markey playing her 


"The concept is simple," Tinkerhess 
said. "On the afternoon of Sunday, May 
1st, everyone in the neighborhood who 
either is a musician or wants to pretend 
to be a musician is encouraged to step 
out onto their front porch and play 
music. That's it. Or half of it. The other 
half is that we are inviting all the other 
neighbors, and the rest of the world, to 
wander through the neighborhood that 
afternoon and enjoy something like a 
music festival with a lot of stages." 

Given the number of musicians in the 
neighborhood, outside visitors will 
be needed to ensure not everyone is 
sitting on a front porch performing. 
Tinkerhess reported that 140 

neighborhood musicians had signed up 
by April 25. 

You'll know you're in the right location 
for the festival by the street names 

- Brooks, Spring, Fountain, Summit 

- the neighborhood on Ann Arbor's 
near north side 
is flooded with 
streets named for 
water running 
nearby or the 
hilltop they 

Ann Arbor 
Observer editor 
John Hilton said 
the Water Hill 
Music Fest was the 

"coolest idea of 2011." 

"The response has been universally 
positive, and more enthusiastic than I 
had even hoped for," Tinkerhess said. 
"People don't just think it's a good idea, 
they think it's a fantastic idea." 

And how does Tinkerhess account for 
all the musical talent to be found in one 

"It must be something in the water," he 

Water Hill Music Festival will be from 
2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 1, in the 
neighborhood bounded by Brooks, 
Miller, Spring and Summit streets. 

For more information and an event 
program, visit 

From left: 1 0-year-old Magdalen Fossum, named one 
of the two best open mic performers at the Ark; Waleed 
Howrani, world-renowned composer and pianist; and 
Ron Brooks, bassist who has performed with Quincy 
Jones, Sarah Vanghan and Bob James. Hell be performing 
on Water Hill with his trio, comprised of Brooks with Pete 
Siers, Tadd Weed. 

'layo, many 
es hold celebrations of 
Iture and heritage. 

ayo commemorates the 
ebia, which occurred in 
rench army had invaded 
cause of owed debt, and 
during etle a small militia under 

General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin 
defeated Napoleon's forces, which 
were considered among the most 
powerful in the world. 

The outcome of the Battle of Puebla 
was an extraordinary achievement 
and gave the Mexican citizens a great 
sense of patriotism. Cinco de Mayo 
still marks this battle asla symbol 
of pride and unity, and in some 
interpretations as defiance against 

In Mexico itself, this holiday is 
mostly only celebrated in Puebla. 
However, it has become more and 
more widespread among Mexican 
communities in the United States. 
Here it is a way of displaying cultural 

a celebrating success a 
odds, and has also served as an 
apporlunity for many people tc 
about Mexican heritage and histor 

It has been further spread both 
by those seeking iiWfer standing 
and unity betweerf cultures and by , 
commercial interests. Celebrations i 
take place in several large cities, and 
often involve traditional dancing, 
music and food. 

Pifiatas, Mexican flags and 
homemade tortillas are already flying 
off the shelves at Ann Arbor's well 
stocked Tienda La Libertad. Owner 
Ana Trinidad said, "In Mexico we 
celebrate with the flag, retelling 
the story, preserving memories, 
and having a barbeque with our 
families. Many people come here to 
get the special drinks, cheeses, and 
homemade baked goods for their 

A group of California State University 
students originated the celebration 
of Cinco De Mayo in the U.S. in 1967, 
responding to the lack of a Chicano